Swedish, Project Access Northwest and Local Physicians Partner to Deliver Life-Changing Orthopedic Surgeries

November 27, 2013

By Swedish News

Eleven uninsured patients receive knee, hip replacements from Swedish Orthopedic Institute and case management services from Project Access Northwest

SEATTLE — A first-time partnership between Swedish Orthopedic Institute, nonprofit Project Access Northwest and local physicians is giving 11 local patients life-changing orthopedic care as part of a nationwide campaign known as Operation Walk USA during the week of Dec. 2-7, 2013.

Painful joints, whether caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis, an injury, or a lifetime of wear and tear, can be a significant barrier to living a healthy and productive life. For many uninsured or underinsured patients, these conditions are a sentence to a lifetime of pain, frustration and dependency.

“The hip is so bad now that it’s difficult to walk, difficult to sleep,” said Gregory Arnold, Seattle resident and recipient of a right hip replacement. “I can hardly imagine what it will be like to be able to walk again. It will extend my life by years.”

Arnold, whose hip deteriorated after years of horseback riding and construction work, is one of the 11 local patients ranging in ages from 48 to 63, who will benefit from orthopedic care donated by Swedish and local orthopedic surgeons, and free case management services provided by Project Access. The total value of donated care and services is more than $275,000.

The partnership, the first of its kind in Seattle, is part of a nationwide campaign to provide donated orthopedic care to the uninsured and underinsured known as Operation Walk USA. In just its third year, the national program will be providing joint replacement surgeries to more than 230 patients in 70 hospitals across the nation. Project Access Northwest, helps connect uninsured/underinsured patients with donated specialty care from providers in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The Swedish Orthopedic Institute is one of the largest orthopedic specialty hospitals in the country, and the only one of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The entire facility and its staff are dedicated exclusively to treating patients who need bone, joint or spine surgery. “We saw this as a perfect opportunity to participate in a national joint replacement surgery project that could help uninsured patients in our own community,” said James Crutcher Jr., M.D., medical director of Swedish Orthopedic Institute and partner at Orthopedic Physician Associates, a Proliance Surgeons care center.

“This is truly a community-wide effort,” said Sallie Neillie, executive director of Project Access Northwest. “We are grateful to multiple organizations that made this happen - the screening and referral by the safety net clinics, the coordination of Project Access Northwest case managers, the donations of replacement joints from the manufacturers and the generous donations of professional services from Orthopedic Physician Associates, Physicians Anesthesia Services and others. All of these organizations have come together to provide these surgeries for patients who desperately need them.”

“Orthopedic surgery has the power to change lives. We see that every day in the high-quality care that we provide. We are proud to work with a partner like Project Access Northwest to expand this care and help more people achieve the mobility and independence they deserve,” said Kara Dowdall, executive director of Orthopedic Physician Associates, one of the region’s largest orthopedic practices and provider of donated care through the Operation Walk USA project.

About Swedish

Swedish has grown over the last 103 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group, a network of more than 100 primary care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. In 2012, Swedish provided more than $130 million in community benefit in Western Washington. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.swedishcares.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter, or www.twitter.com/swedish.

About Project Access Northwest

Project Access Northwest removes the logistical and financial barriers to specialty medical and dental care for patients and their health care providers in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. Nearly 1,400 health care providers currently volunteer with Project Access Northwest and more than 4700 patients are served each year through the program. For more information, visit www.projectaccessnw.org.

About Operation Walk

Operation Walk USA is an independent medical humanitarian organization that provides free hip or knee replacement surgeries to patients in the US. Operation Walk USA benefits US citizens and permanent residents who do not qualify for government assistance programs and cannot afford surgery on their own. Through Operation Walk USA 2013, an estimated 230 patients nationwide will receive free joint replacements between Dec. 2 and Dec. 7, 2013. For more information, visit www.opwalkusa.com

About Orthopedic Physician Associates

Orthopedic Physician Associates ("OPAOrtho") is Seattle's premier provider of orthopedic and musculoskeletal services. OPA physicians are board certified in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Physiatry and Anesthesiology and each has advanced subspecialty fellowship training in Sports, Joints, Foot & Ankle, Spine and Trauma. Our physicians are the team physicians for many of the area's professional sports teams, including the Seattle Mariners, the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Storm, Pacific Northwest Ballet and dozens of collegiate and recreational leagues throughout the greater Seattle area. For more information, visit www.opaortho.com.